For Molly Adams, the founder of the Feminist Bird Club, getting COVID didn’t just mean a week or two under the weather. Like other people with long COVID, they’re continuing to have chronic symptoms after the viral infection. Fortunately, before COVID they had learned about a technique called atlasing — observing birds closely to figure out if they’re breeding in a certain habitat. The observations become part of a record called a breeding bird atlas. Molly says atlasing is a more soothing, slowed-down approach to birding and involves getting to know birds as individuals.
Molly Adams on Birding with Long COVID
Written by Conor Gearin
This is BirdNote.
[Hermit Thrush song]
For Molly Adams, the founder of the Feminist Bird Club, getting COVID didn’t just mean a week or two under the weather. Like other people with long COVID, they’re continuing to have chronic symptoms after the viral infection.
Molly Adams: Standing and walking, I can do for maybe about 20 to 30 minutes without feeling sick. And if I ever overdo it, it just feels like I have COVID again.
Molly had to rethink her approach to birding. Fortunately, before COVID they had learned about a technique called atlasing. You observe birds closely to figure out if they’re breeding in a certain habitat. And you contribute your findings to a record called a breeding bird atlas. So instead of rushing around trying to rack up a long list of species—
Molly Adams: You're really looking at the different behaviors of the birds and, and tracking individual birds to see if they are exhibiting breeding behaviors. It's a really kind of like soothing, slowed-down version of birding that I, I really enjoy.
[Hermit Thrush song]
Molly Adams: It's really wonderful to try to be able to get to know different birds by seeing which calls they make, if they're looking for a mate or if they have a nest of chicks nearby.
And there’s an accessory that makes the experience even better.
Molly Adams: I rely heavily now on this really trusty stool, folding stool that I can use to sit down on the trail. Yeah, sitting and birding has become my new favorite way of birding.
Learn more about atlasing on our website, BirdNote dot org. I’m Conor Gearin.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Hermit Thrush ML 207547 recorded by Gregory Budney.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote November 2022
Narrator: Conor Gearin
ID# adamsm-01-2022-11-22 adamsm-01